GAO says FCC leaks into the lobby


The Government Accountability Office has released a report charging that selected insiders are being tipped off about upcoming FCC actions, allowing them to step up lobbying efforts in advance of sunshine periods. "Situations where some, but not all, stakeholders know what FCC is considering for an upcoming vote undermine the fairness and transparency of the process and constitute a violation of the FCC’s rules," said GAO. The GAO recommended that the "FCC take steps to ensure equal access to information by making sure that nonpublic information is safeguarded from disclosure — so that all stakeholders have the same information." Subcommitttee on Telecommunications and the Internet chair Ed Markey was quick to pile on, saying, "The good news is that the FCC has rules against disclosing inside information before everyone knows it publicly. The bad news is that it appears violations of such rules are a daily reality at the FCC. I believe the FCC should take immediate steps to protect the integrity of its rulemaking process. The public deserves to know that these decisions are made on the up-and-up, with no unfair advantage to any one side in these important policy debate." According to the Los Angeles Times, the scope of the GAO study reaches back into the Michael Powell chairmanship.